Best of Vancouver 2006
» Our Contributors' Choices
Hello, and welcome to the 11th annual Georgia Straight Best of Vancouver issue, the Lower Mainland’s most thorough compendium of insider knowledge. That makes for a pretty hefty newspaper this week and a lot of web pages as well, but it’s also a pretty big city we have to cover. You’ve probably noticed that the town has grown too large for any one person to list all its accomplishments. That’s why the Best of Vancouver issue exists: to compile opinions and present them all in one place, where they can be read, studied, consulted, assessed, and debated. It’s a snapshot of our region, circa 2006.
To provide all this information, we begin by asking our writers to keep the Best-of issue in mind all year. We remind them that we pay them money if they pay attention. And they’ve grown increasingly mindful. No sooner does one spout off an opinion to another than a third one jumps in to say, “That’d be a good Best-of item, wouldn’t it?” Then the three of them scuffle over who gets to submit it and how they share the cheque. We like a bit of healthy competition.
As the year progresses, we crank up the pressure. We mention the money again. We also begin brainstorming possible topics and writers for the numerous guest features and special-focus sections that will be presented. For instance, this year we highlight eight folks who’ve made a difference, four neighbourhoods in flux, 13 cheap arts treats, 12 bands’ secrets of the city (see Head of the Class), and 10 emerging film talents to watch.
Simultaneously, we begin evaluating the questions that will be included on the Readers’ Choice Awards ballot. That’s a very important part of this issue because although we’d like to believe we have all the answers, why chance being wrong? Accordingly, the final ballot (172 questions this year) is made available for a full month. That’s where the citizens of the Vancouver area come in, giving their opinions on the best this city has to offer.
The questions on the ballot range from the practical and informative to the snarky and impertinent. And despite the daunting size of this year’s questionnaire (and, yes, there are always a few keeners who do rise to the challenge and answer every single question), the number of respondents continues to grow, with 2006 totally eclipsing any previous record. For that, we thank you, dear readers. The results you supply are an integral part of this issue, providing that essential street-level perspective. And except for the small percentage of you who will receive one of the prizes for which we conduct a draw, you do it all for nothing more than the satisfaction of sharing your thoughts on what makes the Lower Mainland worth living in. And our heartfelt thanks, of course. We hope the information contained in this issue will be reward enough, a worthwhile guide to the city and a starting point for civic investigation and spirited debate. That debate is welcome to continue on our blogs at Straight.com. Find your arena—news, health, music, or life in general—and weigh in, bicker, commend. In the meantime, thank you again, and enjoy the Best of Vancouver 2006.
Rod Filbrandt and Mark “Atomos” Pilon
Carolyn Ali, Lucas Aykroyd, John Burns, Matthew Burrows, Charles Campbell, Jack Christie, Ron Coldham, Martin Dunphy, Jurgen Gothe, Amanda Growe, Ian Hanington, Mark Harris, Gail Johnson, Rebecca Keillor, Blaine Kyllo, Judith Lane, Robin Laurence, Brian Lynch, Sheryl Mackay, Tony Montague, Sarah Rowland, Charlie Smith, Craig Takeuchi, Jacqueline Turner, Mike Usinger, Ron Yamauchi